The Baseball Hall of Fame has 208 players enshrined in it primarily because of their MLB playing careers. Over the past several months, I started a project creating my own personal Hall of Fame. I believe in a big Hall, and I don’t believe in casting moral judgments or punishing players to keep them out for their foul transgressions on or off the field.
I think Mark McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame and I think the Hall of Fame should also acknowledge that he used steroids. Why is that so hard?
I’m just looking at performance. That’s how my personal Hall of Fame works. I also realize that there are three tiers of players in every Hall of Fame.
Tier 1 – The All-Time greats. The elite group of players with a legitimate claim to be the best ever to play the game, or the best ever to play their position. (Ruth, Mays, Williams, Aaron, Seaver, etc.)
Tier 2- Obvious Hall of Famers. These players are not the best ever to play their position, but they exceed Hall of Fame standards in most categories and are widely considered obvious Hall of Famers. (Gwynn, Boggs, Jackson, Murray, Ryan, etc.)
Even the small Hall people accept the first two groups of players.
Tier 3- Borderline. Borderline players are often specialists who excelled in one area of the game, players who were very good for a long time but never truly great, or players with a very short peak of greatness. (Ashburn, Dawson, Kiner, Doerr, Sutton, etc.)
When I started this project, I thought my number would exceed 208, it didn’t. There are so many deserving players who are not in, however there are also a lot of players enshrined who fall so far below standards it’s hard to consider them anything but a mistake. For me, there are also a bunch of guys on the wrong side of borderline. If I put all of my borderline guys in, my Hall could have easily ended up with 250 players in it. I didn’t get that high. While I continue to tweak and adjust and I’m open to hearing cases for players I didn’t put in, right now my personal Hall has 174 players in it. 126 position players, 48 pitchers. A ratio that admittedly seems unfair to pitchers.
One of the best parts about this project is that a group of fellow baseball nerds/writers are doing the same thing. Adam Darowski, who runs the best Hall of Fame related website (Hall of Stats) I’ve come across, is one of them. He already posted his personal Hall of Fame here.
We have been tweeting each other (perhaps annoying you) quite a bit about our personal Halls. I’m looking forward to making my case for some that might only be in my Hall, and to hearing their cases for players I have omitted. I’m looking at you, David Cone.
More detailed analysis will come, probably on all four sites. For now here’s a quick look at my personal Hall of Fame. Players in gold are in the actual Hall of Fame, players in green are still on the ballot, players in grey have fallen off the ballot and are not enshrined in the actual Hall. Sorted by bWAR.
And the pitchers. Sorted by bWAR.
I also put in three relievers (who didn’t fit on my spreadsheet).
I found myself giving players on the borderline the benefit of the doubt if they are enshrined in the actual Hall of Fame. I also tend to be more lenient with modern players, players who started their career after MLB integrated in 1947. I also was perhaps too harsh on pitchers. I noticed that there are some borderline pitchers I kept out while putting batters with similar career and peak value in. So that’s not ideal, I know this.
One other note, since my personal Hall of Fame focuses only on players worthy for their MLB playing careers, I’ve omitted the many great Negro League stars from the lists above. Not that I would actually omit them from my personal Hall, Josh Gibson is just as deserving of enshrinement as Babe Ruth. There just isn’t enough statistical data available from the Negro Leagues to accurately compare those players to those who were playing in MLB. I encourage you to visit the websites for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame to find out more about the many great players who starred in the Negro Leagues and help make the game what it is today.
Originally posted 3/4/13
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